Each year before Christmas, the Ski fans from all over the world turn their attention to the Saslong in Val Gardena/Gröden in South Tyrol, Italy.
This is one of the longest racing courses in the world, considered a spectator magnet for international ski fans and a thought leader in the area of safety on the course. The Saslong was built in 1969 and is valued as one of the Ski World Cup's most modern slopes.
Fast, spectacular, famous - the Saslong downhill in Gardena/Gröden is named after the Ladin word of the nearby 3,181 meter high mountain Saslong - is one of the most impressive World Cup downhills. Many fans from all of the world pay homage to this course each year to admire racing top athletes who give their very best to conquer this second longest course in the world. It is filled with jumps, bumps and gliding passages which can only be mastered by the true all-round talents competing.
Not that withstanding, there have been several surprise winners on the course in the past. Swiss athlete Bernhard Russi won the sensational World Championship downhill in 1970: "It was the most emotionally charged moment in my sport's life. It was totally unexpected, as I went to the start as a newcomer." The Saslong is viewed as one of the longest and fastest slopes in the world with nine jumps and 17 extended bumps.